Written evidence submitted by the British
Standards Institution (BSI)
As the UK's National Standards Body, BSI welcomes
this opportunity to comment on this inquiry.
1. BSI is the UK's National Standards Body (NSB)
and was the world's first. It represents UK economic and
social interests across all of the European and international
standards organizations and through the development of business
information solutions for British organizations of all sizes and
sectors. BSI works with manufacturing and service industries,
businesses, governments and consumers to facilitate the production
of British, European and international standards.
2. Much of the market knowledge and expertise
BSI has resides in its committee structure. BSI has a large number
of committees of experts representing a broad range of stakeholders,
and this promotes the development of consensus views regarding
standardisation where this is deemed important.
- BSI has a portfolio of standards that enable
organisations to address their sustainability impacts; the portfolio
includes the world's first national standard on managing sustainable
development, BS 8900:2006.
- BSI published a guidance standard on Sustainable
Procurement, BS 8903:2010, which can be used by any organization
and has had major government involvement.
- In formulating a future architecture for sustainability
and demonstrating it is the "greenest government ever",
government should be actively involved in developing new standards
in the area of sustainability. It should also use existing standards
that can increase its sustainability performance.
3. British Standards are developed by bringing
together the key interested parties in a transparent process that
has no commercial bias. Representatives from small businesses,
government, NGOs, consumers, labour organisations, academic institutions
and industry sectors sit on committees to develop consensus-based
documents. The result is standards that are voluntary to use,
while being supported by all stakeholders.
4. In 2006, BSI published the first standard
on sustainable development: BS 8900:2006 - Guidance for managing
sustainable development. It is a principle-based approach
for any organization (large multinational, SME, public or third
sector) to embedding sustainability across its practices. It is
the first standard to take an integrated approach to managing
social, environmental and economic issues. The centrepiece of
the standard is a sustainable development maturity matrix which
helps to identify the amount of progress achieved to date and
the future direction for sustainable development within an organization.
This matrix would assist government in establishing how it is
currently progressing towards sustainable development as well
as potentially being adapted to assist in policy making.
5. BS 8903:2010 - Principles and framework
for procuring sustainably - Guide gives recommendations and
guidance on how to adopt and embed sustainable procurement principles
and practices across an organization (public, private or third
sector) and its respective supply chains and provides practical
information to support implementation. It includes guidance on
measurement to help organizations assess the extent and effectiveness
of their sustainable procurement activity. The standard has been
produced to be compatible with the Flexible Framework, which was
produced by the Government's Sustainable Procurement Task Force
in 2006. It also has a separate Annex which deals specifically
with issues around the EU Procurement Directive. There was committed
involvement of government in the drafting of the standard and
it is clearly a valuable tool for government to improve the sustainability
of its procurement practices.
6. There are numerous other standards in BSI's
portfolio that address sustainability issues, key others include:
- BS EN ISO 14001: 2004 - Environmental management
systems. Requirements with guidance for use (plus other standards
in the 14000 series).
- OHSAS 18001: 2007 - Occupational health and
safety management systems. Requirements.
- BS ISO 26000: 2010 - Guidance on social responsibility
(to be published 1 November 2010).
- BS EN 16001: 2009 - Energy management systems.
Requirements with guidance for use.
7. By using the standards in BSI's sustainability
portfolio the government can demonstrate its commitment to sustainability
and make considerable improvements to its environmental, social
and economic performance. As highlighted above, BSI brings together
all interested parties and draws on existing developments, initiatives
and contributions from all types of organization. Therefore, working
with BSI will enable government to build an architecture for sustainable
development without the assistance of the Sustainable Development
8. BSI is the UK's National Standards Body, incorporated
by Royal Charter and responsible independently for preparing British
Standards and related publications. BSI has 107 years of experience
in serving the interest of a wide range of stakeholders including
government, business and society.
9. BSI presents the UK view on standards in Europe
(to CEN and CENELEC) and internationally (to ISO and IEC). BSI
has a globally recognized reputation for independence, integrity
and innovation ensuring standards are useful, relevant and authoritative.
10. A BSI (as well as CEN/CENELEC, ISO/IEC) standard
is a document defining best practice, established by consensus.
Each standard is kept current through a process of maintenance
and reviewed whereby it is updated, revised or withdrawn as necessary.
11. Standards are designed to set out clear and
unambiguous provisions and objectives. Although standards are
voluntary and separate from legal and regulatory systems, they
can be used to support or complement legislation.
12. Standards are developed when there is a defined
market need through consultation with stakeholders and a rigorous
development process. National committee members represent their
communities in order to develop standards and related documents
by consensus. They include representatives from a range of bodies,
including government, business, consumers, academic institutions,
social interests, regulators and trade unions.
13 October 2010